Search and online display marketing have become required channels for travel brands. But the disciplines have evolved radically and are increasingly integrated and measured via digital marketing suites serving real time, behaviour-led campaigns.
In this multi-channel environment it's surprising when marketers don't understand the influence of each channel – and thereby do not understand where to attribute credit or how to optimally assign their online budgets.
Too many marketers measure the success through 'last click' – a form of attribution which gives all the credit to the channel clicked just before a conversion. Last click is the least accurate, but also, unfortunately, the most common attribution model.
In a football match all the credit is not given to the goal scorer. The build up from a goal kick to back of the net is never straightforward. It's the same with online campaigns. The last click is rarely the only contribution to a conversion.
Integrated campaigns are most powerful when you have a fully-attributed view of online advertising, giving crucial insight into how the different digital channels work together. By better understanding how different media interact and assist along the path to making an online booking, marketers can speed up conversions and increase average order values (AOV).
An upcoming report by IgnitionOne examines conversion paths and latency (amount of time between first exposure and conversion) among global travel brands and uncovered insights, including:
• Paid search is a key driver in getting customers to spend more money. Outside of organic search, it drives a 71% higher average order value than any other single-channel campaign. Within multi-channel campaigns, when paid search follows an organic search click, the AOV is 18% higher than the average multi-channel campaign.
• When using email in isolation it drives a 56% lower AOV and takes over 250% longer to convert a user than average. When email is part of a multi channel approach, but it is the last exposure it results in a 36% lower AOV and 100% more time to convert than average.
• When email is the first exposure it results in a 39% lower AOV and takes a user almost 150% more time to convert than average. This can be explained by email campaigns being traditionally very promotional in nature, which results in a lower AOV. Email campaigns are also more heavily dominated by existing customers who may not be currently in the market for travel and/or are more discerning among promotional offers.
It takes more than one exposure to convert a customer. According to the report, travel purchasers saw on average 5.6 media exposures before converting with an average latency of 13 days. These media exposures came from an average of 1.7 channels. More than half of transactions included exposures from multiple channels.
Customers also convert at their own pace and latency can vary greatly depending on the product or service considered. Money spent on a travel email campaign today might not see a return on investment for another 50 days. With the right combination of media, the average latency drops considerably.
To fully take advantage of insights like these, travel marketers must move away from a fragmented approach to online marketing and 'last click' attribution. When you have a full picture of how all of your efforts interact, it is possible to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
For more information on IgnitionOne's Attribution Paths Report visit www.ignitionone.com